A food manufacturer retained Cornerstone Research and a marketing professor to design and implement a nationwide survey to assess consumers’ purchasing behavior.
A food manufacturer retained Cornerstone Research and Professor Dominique Hanssens of the University of California, Los Angeles, to address class certification issues related to consumer behavior. The plaintiffs alleged that the manufacturer mislabeled the amount of food in the packaging.
Professor Hanssens designed and implemented a nationwide online survey to assess the behavior, recollection, and satisfaction of the manufacturer’s customers. His analysis of the survey results showed that a variety of factors influenced purchases, many customers could not recall their purchases, and the majority of customers were satisfied with their purchases.
Professor Hanssens submitted an expert report and testified in deposition. He opined that the wide variety of factors influencing consumer purchases of the product undermined the plaintiffs’ assumption that the alleged mislabeling was relevant to all or many putative class members.
Furthermore, since many survey respondents could not recall their purchases, Professor Hanssens questioned whether these customers could reliably identify themselves as proposed class members eligible for damages. Finally, he challenged the plaintiffs’ theory that consumers were harmed by the alleged mislabeling by citing consumers’ high product satisfaction.